Iran (Is Not the Problem) – Documentary

I watched a documentary a while ago, but was so overloaded with facts (well, I mean, I haven’t fact checked ’em or anything) that I had to watch it again, this time with my finger ready on the pause-rewind button (read: my mouse) and a pad and pen to take notes.

The documentary is called IRAN (Is Not the Problem), and was made in 2007. The premise of the film is that the war in Iraq was a mistake (true) and shouldn’t be repeated by doing something similar to Iran (like send in troops or attack, etc.), which I guess was a serious option back during W. (and I’m hoping isn’t one for Obama).

The full doc can be viewed here. Below is my bullet-point summary (note: I haven’t checked most of these ‘facts’):

  • 2/3 of the world’s oil and natural gas are in the middle-east’s central asia region: the most being in Saudi Arabia, then Iraq, then Iran.
  • U.S. and British oil companies have owned most of Iran’s oil for the past 100 years, until the Iranian revolution in 1979.
  • U.S. has been in partnerships with the rulers of those countries: Saudi Royal Family in Saudi Arabia (Nixon), Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and the Sha in Iran.
  • Saddam was a U.S. ally, and they supported him through his worst crimes, until he invaded Kuwait.
  • The second Iraq war (the one going on now), under Nuremberg Principles, would be considered a war crime (no imminent threat, no permission from U.N.)
  • ~ 650,000 deaths have resulted from the war in Iraq (Lancet survey)
    [note: I had to look this up. The Lancet defined it as ‘excess deaths’, and had gave a 95% confidence interval of 392,979-942,636 deaths. As far as I can tell though, people generally agree upon a figure closer to ~100,000. Still a lot. What amazed me was the fact that 3,771 of those deaths were from ‘friendly fire’. Meaning, that the U.S. has killed more of its own people in the Iraq war than were killed on Sept 11, 2001 (2,977)]
  • 4 million displaced from the war in Iraq
    [note: again, I had to look this up. Wikipedia: In 2008, the UNHCR reported an estimate of 4.7 million refugees (~16% of the population) with 2 million abroad (a number close to CIA projections[76]) and 2.7 million internally displaced people.[77] In 2007, Iraq’s anti-corruption board reported that 35% of Iraqi children, or about five million children, were orphans.[78] TheRed Cross stated in March 2008 that Iraq’s humanitarian situation remained among the most critical in the world, with millions of Iraqis forced to rely on insufficient and poor-quality water sources.[79]
  • Before the war, Iraq’s oil was closed to U.S. companies. Now it is open to them.
  • The Iraq Effect (motherjones article): world terrorism has increased 7 fold since the attack on Iraq.
  • Iran’s prime minister, Ahmadinejad, held a conference in Tehran, which was pretty much a holocaust denial conference.
  • Vast majority of Middle East is Sunni, except Iraq and Iran which is mainly Shia

And now we get to play the timeline game:

  • 1901-1951: Oil controlled by Anglo-Iranian Oil Company Limited (which later changed its name to BP (no jokes))
  • 1951: Iran democratically elected a prime minister, who nationalized oil
  • 1953: U.S. overthrew Iran’s democracy and installed a pro-U.S. dictator (Sha)
    Sha installs secret police created by C.I.A. and Israel
  • 1979: Hostage takeover by students and militants at U.S. Embassy (which lasted 444 days (see screenshot below)) in support of Iranian revolution
    AyatollahRuhollah Khomeini returns to Iran and democratically takes power.
  • 1980-8: Saddan invades Iran. About 500,000 Iranians killed. U.S. played both sides: supported Iraq (money, technology, weapons; dept. of commerce issued licenses to export materials for WMDs)
    U.S. continued support even when they knew that Iraq was using chemical weapons against Iran and its own civilians (Kurdish uprising)
    U.S. also armed Iran, known as the Iran Contra Scandal: where Reagan needed money to fight a war against the Nicaraguan people, but was forbidden to do so by congress. U.S. then illegally sold arms to Iran (through Israel and South Africa), whose proceeds went to Nicaraguan contra. U.S. was convicted by the World Court for its actions in Nicaragua (international terrorism).
  • 1989: Ali Khamenei (not to be confused with Khomenei) takes power (appointed by the Assembly of Experts
  • 1981- present has been bad for Iran, since these leaders are pretty much dictators with pretty bad human rights records.
  • 1997-2005: A reformer is elected president (not the same as the supreme leader, mind you (see screenshot below)): Mohammed Khatami. Wanted to return rights to women.
  • 2002: Bush names Iran as part of the Axis of Evil
  • 2005: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad elected president

Ok, now back to more stuff from the doc:

  1. non-proliferation,
  2. disarmament, and
  3. the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.
  • The U.S., a signee, however, is moving towards making new nukes: “reliable replacement warheads” [note: looked this up. This ended under the Obama administration (I just got a boner for Obama)]
  • U.S. supports Israel, Pakistan and Inda to get nukes.
  • Then the doc goes on about how Iran should be allowed to pursue a peaceful nuclear energy program: Iran, surprisingly, depends on imports of refined oil, since they can’t do that themselves, because of sanctions..I believe…I may have missed this.

More pics:

Anyways, the doc, if nothing else, was extremely interesting and got me thinking. Plus it’s extremely relevant to what’s going on in the middle east with all the revolutions and such. Good to be informed…

[note: sorry I haven’t updated in a while: work is ape-shit busy, and this post took me a while]


About dontdontoperate

28 year old originally from Barrie, Ontario, Canada. H.B.Sc. from UofT with a major in chemistry and a double minor in philosophy and math. M.Sc. from UofT in physiology and neuroscience. Finished my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at McMaster in the fall of 2013.
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